Wet, wicked wind blows into Chicago prompting closures, warnings

CHICAGO -- Winds gusting in excess of 60 miles per hour could bring waves of over 20' to shores of Lake Michigan late Wednesday and into Thursday, according to an alert from the National Weather Service in Chicago.

The NWS issued a High Wind Warning for Cook County, as well as Porter, Lake, and La Porte counties in Indiana. Those areas are under a Wind Advisory from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Thursday, when the High Wind Warning takes effect. It will be in effect throughout the day until around 4 p.m.

Sustained north winds of 40 mph are expected, and gusts could reach 60 mph late Wednesday and into Thursday, especially near Lake Michigan, the NWS said. This could cause damage to trees, power lines, and personal property, and make driving difficult for high profile vehicles.

Flooding of Lake Shore Drive possible

These high winds are also expected to cause large waves along the Lake Michigan shore. If wind gusts reach 60 mph or more, waves of 15' to 22' are expected, possibly even flooding the lakeshore.

The NWS said conditions are similar to an October 31, 2014 storm when high waves caused partial flooding of Lake Shore Drive.

High waves cause flooding on Lake Shore Drive on October 31, 2014.

Flooding expected near Des Plaines River

A Flood Warning will be in effect for areas near the Des Plaines River, especially near Des Plaines, starting Thursday morning and into Friday night. The river is expected to rise above the flood plain by Thursday evening, with water reaching some nearby backyards.

Elsewhere on the Des Plaines River, a Flood Advisory continues at Riverside until Saturday afternoon.

Snow coming?

Rain may still change over or mix with a heavy wet snow later tonight into Thursday over a good portion of the Chicago area, however temperatures will most likely stay above freezing, so accumulations of a few inches may be confined to grassy areas or untreated roads – driving still could become slick and hazardous.

A Wind Advisory may be posted for inland counties with winds gusting in excess of 40 miles per hour Wednesday night and Thursday.